maybe (adv.) – the cruelest word


“Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets” -Arthur Miller

There are a lot of powerful words in the English language, but I can think of few as two-faced and devastating as “maybe.”

Maybe fills you with hope and leads you on like the cruelest of flirters.

Maybe he’ll call. Maybe she’ll pull through. Maybe next year will be better.

It strings you along innocently enough until it dumps you unceremoniously on the floor as it flutters away.

It’s the unknown that keeps us up at night, flicking through the possibilities that stretch between us and the rest of our lives.

We’re in overwhelming awe of all the things that could happen: Our dream job could open up, we might win the lottery, some day we really will go on that trip – maybe.

And then (how easily it changes) we’re in paralyzing fear of all the things that could happen: We could get in a car accident, we might lose our job, some day our vices really will catch up with us – maybe.

Maybe is a trap that makes us run around in circles, lifting us with hope and throwing us down with worry; enabling us with motivation and paralyzing us with doubt.

The truth is, we will never know which course of action would have been better, which words would have been the best to say, which moments would have been better off going differently.

Yes- Maybe he will call. Then again, maybe you’ll get hit by a bus tomorrow. But life’s too short to live stuck in what may be.

Maybe it’s time to start living definitively.

who were you when the flash went off?

IMG_0229“And the moral of the story is that you don’t remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened.” -John Green

Do you ever look at a photo you’re in and try to remember what life was like for you in that moment? What it was to be you, looking into the camera, instead of you, looking back on the moment you were trying to capture?

Who were you when the flash went off?

Were you smiling because you were genuinely happy or because the camera was about to click? Is the person next to you someone you wanted there? Can you remember the way their arm felt around your shoulders and what they were saying in the moment before you turned to smile?

There is such an intense focus for us to preserve each moment, to document every detail of our lives- and to make sure they’re perfect in their documentation. My hair’s not right. You blinked. He didn’t smile. Someone threw up bunny ears- Take it again, with flash.

We get so concerned about taking that perfect photo that we end up documenting a manufactured moment instead of the one that was truly lived. And then we peruse a slew of filters to color the moment even more, to make it look less and less like the thing it was.

Over time, we see that photo again and again- catch a glance of it on our bulletin board or stumble upon it on Facebook. And what we begin to remember is not what it felt like to be alive that night, laughing with friends over drinks or hugging our parents at graduation. We remember what the photo shows us: the perfectly manufactured moment of somebody we used to be.

We try so desperately to find ways to remember, that we forget to actually live the life the photo captures. Instead of worrying if we’ll look perfect when the camera goes off, we should be worrying if we’ve fully taken in the smell of mom’s perfume standing next to us or the punchline of the joke a friend made about the photographer.

The moments that weren’t captured, that can’t be captured- those are the moments worth remembering.

A perfect photo will remind you where you were standing and what you were wearing in one single instant of your life. If you don’t look around and take in that moment for yourself, if you don’t appreciate it while it’s happening, the photo won’t be much help in reminding you who you were when it was taken.

The best stories, the best memories and the best lives don’t come from people who live for the perfectly manufactured moments. They come from the people who are too busy enjoying what’s around them to worry about documenting it.

Suck it up, Millennials: Embrace your twenty-something-ness


“15 ways you know you’re a suffering twenty-something”

“7 daily awful things every twenty-something can relate to”

“20 reasons a twenty-something wouldn’t survive the Hunger Games”

All I see on social media lately are reasons why life in your twenties is hard. Our generation is taking to the Internet to express through lists and gif sets why they are miserable, tired and worthy of pity. No career, some college debt, unlucky in love, unsure of oneself. Thought Catalog and BuzzFeed have us all convinced that between post-graduation and pre-30s, life is a mess of hopeless wine guzzling and Ramen noodles.

Suck it up, millennials.

You’re scared? So is everyone else. Every single one of us is worried we’re never going to get a job we actually like.

You don’t have a career yet? DUH. Careers take years of hard work. You might be 40 before you find your true calling. And that’s fine. But your dream job is not going to knock on your door in the middle of your Parks and Recreation binge-watch on Netflix.

College debt? Join the club, we have t-shirts. Unlucky in love? Just remember there’s a dating site for those aged 50+ so you’re probably doing fine.

Unsure of yourself? GOOD. Continue to test yourself, push your limits, surprise everyone, and find out what you’re truly capable of.

Stop complaining about how hard life is for 20-somethings today.

Because even though we’re all still figuring it out, we have a few things going for us: we’re not alone, we’re still young enough to bounce back from failure, and our lives are still full of possibilities.

We don’t know what our lives will be like a year from now. And yeah, that’s terrifying. But it’s also the most freeing and wonderful feeling in the world.

Yes, you have to work hard. Yes, you might have to live in a shitty apartment and have a job right after college that isn’t what you hoped for. And yes, there will probably be days  that are a mess of hopeless wine guzzling and Ramen noodles.

But, for the love of God, you’re a 20-something. There is so much of your life to be lived, and there’s no telling where it might take you. Stop obsessing over insecurities and uncertainties every one of us is facing and enjoy the ride.

(Hopefully I can take my own advice.)

be a destination


“It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, ‘As pretty as an airport.’”  – Douglas Adams

Train stations always make me existential.

I was in several over the past three days, and each one made me strangely sad. I always think, when I’m traveling, how unloved train stations, airports and bus stops are. They are necessary places, but they are transitionary- no one leaves home with the sole intention of visiting the station.

I couldn’t help but imagine the other people who stood in the cold, waiting to see headlights swing around the tracks, newly-purchased ticket in hand. Where were they going? Just- somewhere else. They were excited, or hopeful, or full of dread and sadness at the prospect of getting to wherever they were going.

People are a lot like places. Some people are destinations; they shimmer with all the promise of something better, of possibilities.

Some people are trains themselves; they come in and out of your life maybe once or twice, they teach you a lesson or open your eyes to something new, and get you where you need to go.

Some people are train stations. They are full of waiting, not action.  They never take off for something better. They let people come and go from their lives while they themselves just wait for something exciting to happen to them.

Waiting is necessary every once in a while. But if you make a habit of it, you end up standing still for too long. You get stuck and scared. Before you know it, you become what other people pass through as they live their lives. You become a train station.

Standing on the platform with my nose hidden under my scarf for warmth, I could only manage one thought as the train rushed towards me through the night:

It’s time to be a destination.